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Government allowing 12-story wood structures

Above: Minister Madu tours Western Archrib with (L-R) Paul Whittaker, Scott Fash of BILD, Dale Beesley, Municipal Affairs, and Andre Lema, of Western Archrib. – GOA Photo

by Morinville News Staff

On the final day of Red Tape Reduction Awareness Week, Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu announced Alberta would become the first province in Canada to allow the construction of 12-story wood structures province-wide.

Both Alberta’s and the National Building Code allow wood-building construction for up to six storeys. However, the next edition of the federal code due at the end of 2020 would allow for the use of tall wood construction with fire-resistant material for up to 12 storeys.

“Not only will this decision support the forestry industry and land developers, it will provide affordability to homebuyers, bolster employment, and give Alberta a competitive advantage,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs Kaycee Madu. “We made this change, knowing that mass timber products are safe and that these buildings will meet all necessary standards.”

The province says advancements in fire-protection and wood-product technology are allowing for the construction of taller wood buildings without compromising safety. Mass timber construction would require the solid or engineered wood to be surrounded by fire-resistive material and the building would have sprinkler systems in place.

The government says it will issue notice based on technical provisions developed for the next edition of the National Building Code for the upcoming construction season.

The Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomed the change.

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AFPA President Paul Whittaker commended the province for advancing the use of wood-building construction of up to 12 storeys.

“By building with products that are made locally, we are supporting thousands of jobs in small communities and large cities throughout the province,” Whittaker said. “From people working in sawmills, to value-add facilities, to jobs in construction and transportation, everyone benefits from this change. Moreover, because wood is fully renewable and has a low carbon footprint, our environment benefits, too.”

The government anticipates the creation of roughly 60 jobs per construction site and up to 400 jobs per new sawmill and production sites.

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